Boston to Beijing – Flying

Boston to Beijing – Non-stop


The trip to the deepest part of China, the northern Silk Road, begins with a flight from Boston to Beijing.   Non-stop it is fifteen hour fifteen minutes flying 6,728 miles, 10,820 kilometers if you prefer the metric system and like the bigger number. The Silk Road, even stretching it a bit from Rome to Beijing is only 5,045 miles, 8,120 Kms for those starting out from the Euro side. We can be sure the original Silk Road travelers took a year to travers a shorter distance than we cover in a bit more than a half a day.

Hainan Airlines offers this non-stop opportunity. More than time saved, we depart late afternoon and arrive the next day early evening. Adding the fifteen hour flight with the twelve hours, 12 time zones, that Beijing is ahead of the East Coast of the US, we get a twenty seven hour time difference between leaving and arriving at our destination. Science aside, leaving later, having dinner and sleeping in a normal cycle eases the change of time zones for me. Agreed that Hainan is a Chinese carrier and some loyalty is owed to US carriers, but the US carriers all have a stop and the trip extends four or five hours longer.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner our camel of the sky has a rated distance of 7,355 or 7,635 miles, depending on the model.   But it is not a small sipper. With a capacity of 33,340 or 33,384 gal, also depending on the model, they are not taking small sips of fuel. They are consuming about 1800 gal per hour. This does depend on number of passengers and their luggage. The less weight the less consumption. Flying northerly over Siberia and over the Pacific, is there a better reason to pack light to help stretch the fuel. My little contribution.

Beijing and Boston are nearly the same latitude, distance from the equator. Boston is a bit further north, about 144 miles further from the equator than Beijing. If we were to fly directly along the latitude, the distance is about 7200 miles. Flying northward towards the pole where the sphere of the earth is smaller, remember at the North Pole the earth is at a point, we can fly a shorter distance westward.

I’ve packed my usual for the flight. Two months of past issues of The Economists which I have yet to read, last Sunday’s New York Times and six paperback books. They are usually the classics that I probably would not read normally but confined to the cabin I plough through one or two each flight. All the magazines and papers are left behind, expanding my brain and lightening my load.                        Expand your mind.  Stretch your body.

Silk Road – Starting Out

Silk Road Trip Preliminaries:

Seven days until we leave for China’s part of the Silk Road. Quite an itinerary. “Thirty Caves in Thirty Days.” Actually 10 cities in 22 days and 9 cave sites with hundreds of caves at each site. Start from the far west, Urumqi, we’ll trek eastward to Luoyang. Plane, train, boat, car and camel plus some hiking and maybe a donkey. The big stuff is set. Hotels, trains, and planes are reserved. On site details will depend on conditions. We’ll be flexible.

The passion for this trip was lit when I visited Luoyang and the Longmen Caves. Over two thousand, actually 2345, caves and niches and tens of thousands of statues carved into the hillside above the river Yi. Many of these statues are reliefs, carved in place from the mountain. Astounding degree of religious passion. Buddhism was expanding and caves were the means of the wealthy to display zeal and purchase merit. Like cathedrals of Europe, these religious efforts extended over centuries. We then visited Xi’An, the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang and the famous Terra Cotta Warriors. We passed on visiting Xi’an on this trip, but the tombs and the  warriors are a breathtaking spectacle.

Our trip is to follow the Northern Portion of the Silk Road and visit the major Buddhist caves along the route. We start in the western Province of China called Xinjiang and pass into the Province of Gansu and the Hexi Corridor.  We finally end in Luoyang in Henan Province.

Urumqi – The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum – A great starting point for an overview of the history of the region. I heard it has a great collection of mummies.

Kuqa (Kuche) – This city is south of Urumqi and not part of the Northern Silk Road, but was a major cultural hub in the 3rd or 4th century. Visiting Kizil and hopefully Kumtura Caves.

Turfan (Turpan) – Back to the Northern route. This is not far from Urumqi and the next major oasis. Visiting Bezeklik Caves and Astana Tombs.

Dunhuang – The major tourist site along the route. Well known for the Mogao Caves and Yulin Caves.

Jiayuguan – No caves here, but the western end of the Great Wall and then the Weijin Tombs.

Zhangye – The Mati Si caves.

Lanzhou and Xiahe – Travel to the Labrang Monastery in Xiahe and then the Bingling Si caves.

Tianshui – Visit Maji Shan Caves.

Luoyang – Longmen Caves.

I have also omitted Yungang Grottoes in Datong. They are closer to Beijing and I hope to visit them in a future trip.

The goal is to see the nine Buddhist cave sites in ten cities in twenty three days. Follow, us on as we travel the route.     :     Expand your mind.  Stretch your body.

Overseventy – HELLO! – Sept. 29, 2016


It would be nice if I could make promises but now I don’t have a bigger vision. I am not yet sure how this web site will evolve. It will be a personal statement of Richard, keeping active and moving forward. I will also bring in the voice and views of JoAnn my irrepressible wife and soul mate.

Over seventy I am. My vision of being seventy was of frail people of failing health. And then, one day, I was seventy. I was older, but not frail. This extra time of my life is an opportunity to live and explore life and the world on different terms, without daily family and work responsibility.

My goal is to try to continually move forward during my life.   No idea whether it I have a short time or a long time. I have a lifetime guarantee, just no assurance of the number of years in the lifetime. Until I stop I plan to keep pushing forward. Maybe it will be at a slower, more careful pace but it will be forward.

Hopefully it might motivate people, over or under seventy, to move forward on their dream. That is what I hope. Maybe it will be enough for some to share my experiences. Sharing is one goal   Maybe, it will motivate someone to try a step, no matter how small. That would be enough reason for my work. One person, one step. If it succeeds, please share your experience with me. Maybe together we can motivate some more.

My tag line, “Expand you mind. Stretch your body.” Represents my life ambition. Allow your mind take you places. See if your body can help you achieve what you mind envisions.

Lastly, I hope to be able to edit what I post, after time for reflection. Improve my grammar, spelling and style. I will try to find a way to emphasize changes so that the reader can identify improvements, or at least changes.

And please, send feedback.   :  Expand your mind.  Stretch your body.